- By sahlhealth
- May 18, 2021
- 28 views
Adrenal cancer is a rare cancer that begins in the small, triangular glands (adrenal glands) located on top of your kidneys. Adrenal glands produce hormones that give instructions to virtually every organ and tissue in your body.
Adrenal cancer, also called adrenocortical cancer, can occur at any age. But it’s most likely to affect children younger than 5 and adults in their 40s and 50s.
Adrenal cancer is often aggressive. When found early, there is a chance for cure. But if the cancer has spread to areas beyond the adrenal gland, cure becomes less likely. Treatment can be used to delay progression or recurrence.
Not all growths that form in the adrenal glands are cancer. Noncancerous (benign) adrenal tumors, such as adenoma or pheochromocytoma, also can develop in the adrenal glands.
Adrenal cancer are caused by the excess production of hormones.
These are typically
Symptoms may also arise from large tumors pressing on organs of the body.
Symptoms of excessive androgen or estrogen production are easier to spot in children than adults because physical changes are more active and visible during puberty. Some signs of adrenal cancer in children can be:
- excessive pubic, underarm, and facial hair growth
- an enlarged penis
- an enlarged clitoris
- large breasts in boys
- early puberty in girls
In about half of the people, symptoms donâ€™t appear until the tumor is large enough to press on other organs. Women with tumors that cause increases in androgen may notice facial hair growth or deepening of the voice. Men with tumors that cause increases in estrogen may notice breast enlargement or breast tenderness. Diagnosing a tumor becomes more difficult for women with excess estrogen and men with excess androgen.
Symptoms of adrenal cancer that produces excess cortisol and aldosterone in adults can include:
- high blood pressure
- high blood sugar
- weight gain
- irregular periods
- easy bruising
What are the treatments for adrenal cancer?
Early treatment can sometimes cure adrenal cancer. There are currently three major types of standard treatment for adrenal cancer:
Your doctor may recommend a procedure called an adrenalectomy, which involves removing the adrenal gland. If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, your surgeon may also remove nearby lymph nodes and tissue.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells and stop new cancer cells from growing.
Depending on the stage of your cancer, you may need to undergo chemotherapy. This form of cancer drug therapy helps stop the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be administered orally or injected into a vein or muscle.
Your doctor may combine chemotherapy with other types of cancer treatments.
Ablation, or the destruction of tumor cells, may be necessary for tumors that are unsafe to remove surgically.
Mitotane (Lysodren) is the most common drug used in the treatment of adrenal cancer. In some cases, itâ€™s given after surgery. It can block excessive hormone production and may help decrease the size of the tumor.
You can also discuss clinical trial treatments with your doctor, such as biologic therapy, which uses the immune system to fight cancer cells.